100 books like Our Great Purpose

By Ryan Patrick Hanley,

Here are 100 books that Our Great Purpose fans have personally recommended if you like Our Great Purpose. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Adam Smith: An Enlightened Life

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Author Of Adam Smith's System: A Re-Interpretation Inspired by Smith's Lectures on Rhetoric, Game Theory, and Conjectural History

From my list on the Adam and smith of modern economics.

Why are we passionate about this?

 AO: I have been intrigued by the Adam and smith (a play on Adam Smith’s name due to K. Boulding) of social sciences ever since, as a graduate student, I was given the privilege to teach a history-of-thought course. I found a lot of wisdom in Smith’s works and continue to find it with every new read. BW: I first met Adam Smith when I was studying for my master’s degree in economics almost twenty years ago. Since then, I have enjoyed rereading him, always finding new sources of fascination and insights. For me, Smith's work is endlessly rich and remains astonishingly topical, three centuries after his birth. 

Andreas and Benoit's book list on the Adam and smith of modern economics

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Why did Andreas and Benoit love this book?

Phillipson’s book is, for us, the best intellectual biography about Smith.

It provides a balanced overall account of Smith’s economics and wider thought and traces their origins and evolution back to the places where Smith lived. It is a very fine read indeed. Quite possibly it is the most insightful book yet on Smith’s life and work.

It is a must-read for Smith scholars. It is also an important corrigendum to the many accounts that describe Smith as an absent-minded professor, somewhat detached from the world. Phillipson argues convincingly that Smith, while he may have had Asperger’s, was a man of the world, a very competent administrator in academic and other matters, and a much sought-after policy advisor at the highest level.

By Nicholas Phillipson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Adam Smith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Adam Smith is celebrated all over the world as the author of The Wealth of Nations and the founder of modern economics. A few of his ideas - such as the 'Invisible Hand' of the market - have become icons of the modern world. Yet Smith saw himself primarily as a philosopher rather than an economist, and would never have predicted that the ideas for which he is now best known were his most important. This book, by one of the leading scholars of the Scottish Enlightenment, shows the extent to which The Wealth of Nations and Smith's other great…


Book cover of Adam Smith

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Author Of Adam Smith's System: A Re-Interpretation Inspired by Smith's Lectures on Rhetoric, Game Theory, and Conjectural History

From my list on the Adam and smith of modern economics.

Why are we passionate about this?

 AO: I have been intrigued by the Adam and smith (a play on Adam Smith’s name due to K. Boulding) of social sciences ever since, as a graduate student, I was given the privilege to teach a history-of-thought course. I found a lot of wisdom in Smith’s works and continue to find it with every new read. BW: I first met Adam Smith when I was studying for my master’s degree in economics almost twenty years ago. Since then, I have enjoyed rereading him, always finding new sources of fascination and insights. For me, Smith's work is endlessly rich and remains astonishingly topical, three centuries after his birth. 

Andreas and Benoit's book list on the Adam and smith of modern economics

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Why did Andreas and Benoit love this book?

Part of the series meant to cater to “those new to philosophy” while also being “essential reading for those interested in the subject at any level.” It’s a little bit like squaring the circle. But Fleischacker (also the author of an excellent book on Smith’s Wealth of Nations almost twenty years back) manages to do so.

There are two ingredients that make Fleischacker’s latest book such a must-read. First, his ability to synthesize complicated issues (such as what distinguishes Smith’s and Hume’s theories of self-command) in language accessible to motivated laypeople. Second, his outstanding scholarship.

Fleischacker really knows his stuff, as reflected in the richness of the footnotes to each of the chapters. Many of them are little gems and literature reviews of consistently high quality.

By Samuel Fleischacker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adam Smith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Adam Smith (1723-1790) is widely regarded as one of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment period. Best-known for his founding work of economics, The Wealth of Nations, Smith engaged equally with the nature of morality in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. He also gave lectures on literature and jurisprudence, and wrote papers on art and science.

In this outstanding philosophical introduction Samuel Fleischacker argues that Smith is a superb example of the broadly curious thinkers who flourished in the Enlightenment-for whom morality, politics, law, and economics were just a few of the many fascinating subjects that could be illuminated by…


Book cover of The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Author Of Adam Smith's System: A Re-Interpretation Inspired by Smith's Lectures on Rhetoric, Game Theory, and Conjectural History

From my list on the Adam and smith of modern economics.

Why are we passionate about this?

 AO: I have been intrigued by the Adam and smith (a play on Adam Smith’s name due to K. Boulding) of social sciences ever since, as a graduate student, I was given the privilege to teach a history-of-thought course. I found a lot of wisdom in Smith’s works and continue to find it with every new read. BW: I first met Adam Smith when I was studying for my master’s degree in economics almost twenty years ago. Since then, I have enjoyed rereading him, always finding new sources of fascination and insights. For me, Smith's work is endlessly rich and remains astonishingly topical, three centuries after his birth. 

Andreas and Benoit's book list on the Adam and smith of modern economics

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Why did Andreas and Benoit love this book?

This handbook, edited by three well-known Smith scholars, follows on from a conference organised for the 250th anniversary of the publication of Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments although it is not a proceedings volume.

The book has seven parts, each part featuring four chapters. These 28 chapters cover all bases, from an introductory outline of life, times, and legacy, over the importance of Smith’s unpublished work, the importance to Smith of rhetoric, ethics, aesthetics, theatre, and fashion, to Smith’s view on commerce and morality, his view on religion, and Smith’s legacy and influence, among many other topics.

By Christopher J. Berry (editor), Maria Pia Paganelli (editor), Craig Smith (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Oxford Handbook of Adam Smith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Adam Smith (1723-90) is a thinker with a distinctive perspective on human behaviour and social institutions. He is best known as the author of the An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). Yet his work is name-checked more often than it is read and then typically it is of an uninformed nature; that he is an apologist for capitalism, a forceful promoter of self-interest, a defender of greed and a critic of any 'interference' in market transactions . To offset this caricature, this Handbook provides an informed portrait. Drawing on the expertise of leading…


Book cover of Humanomics: Moral Sentiments and the Wealth of Nations for the Twenty-First Century

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Author Of Adam Smith's System: A Re-Interpretation Inspired by Smith's Lectures on Rhetoric, Game Theory, and Conjectural History

From my list on the Adam and smith of modern economics.

Why are we passionate about this?

 AO: I have been intrigued by the Adam and smith (a play on Adam Smith’s name due to K. Boulding) of social sciences ever since, as a graduate student, I was given the privilege to teach a history-of-thought course. I found a lot of wisdom in Smith’s works and continue to find it with every new read. BW: I first met Adam Smith when I was studying for my master’s degree in economics almost twenty years ago. Since then, I have enjoyed rereading him, always finding new sources of fascination and insights. For me, Smith's work is endlessly rich and remains astonishingly topical, three centuries after his birth. 

Andreas and Benoit's book list on the Adam and smith of modern economics

Andreas Ortmann and Benoit Walraevens Why did Andreas and Benoit love this book?

Smith is generally considered as the father of economics, laying its foundations in the eighteenth century.

But he can also be an inspiration for rethinking economics (providing more realistic assumptions about human conduct) and laboratory experiments in the twenty-first century, helping us to build a new “Humanomics” (see also McCloskey’s two books on this subject). That’s what Vernon Smith (Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002) and Bart Wilson convincingly argue for in their uncommon and innovative book. Smith is still alive (and well alive) today. 

By Vernon L. Smith, Bart J. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Humanomics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

While neo-classical analysis works well for studying impersonal exchange in markets, it fails to explain why people conduct themselves the way they do in their personal relationships with family, neighbors, and friends. In Humanomics, Nobel Prize-winning economist Vernon L. Smith and his long-time co-author Bart J. Wilson bring their study of economics full circle by returning to the founder of modern economics, Adam Smith. Sometime in the last 250 years, economists lost sight of the full range of human feeling, thinking, and knowing in everyday life. Smith and Wilson show how Adam Smith's model of sociality can re-humanize twenty-first century…


Book cover of Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything

Robert Quinn Author Of Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within

From my list on finding your purpose and success.

Why am I passionate about this?

Robert Quinn is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan School of Business. His research and writing focus on purpose, leadership, culture, and change. He has published 18 books on these subjects. He is passionate about speaking and teaching and his recent talk to Google on finding your purpose was viewed by over 18 million people.

Robert's book list on finding your purpose and success

Robert Quinn Why did Robert love this book?

Stecher is a scientist who can also communicate ideas effectively. He does a tour of the literature on purpose and translates it into concepts of practical significance. The data suggests that you and I are designed by nature to be people of higher purpose. Until this happens, we are literally throwing our life away.

By Victor J. Strecher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life on Purpose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A pioneer in the field of behavioral science delivers a groundbreaking work that shows how finding your purpose in life leads to better health and overall happiness. Your life is a boat. You need a rudder. But it doesn't matter how much wind is in your sails if you're not steering toward a harbor-an ultimate purpose in your life. While the greatest philosophers have pondered purpose for centuries, today it has been shown to have a concrete impact on our health. Recent studies into Alzheimer's, heart disease, stroke, depression, functional brain imaging, and measurement of DNA repair are shedding new…


Book cover of Nanny Ogg's Cookbook

Cassandra Reeder Author Of The Geeky Chef Cookbook: Real-Life Recipes for Fantasy Foods

From my list on cookbooks written by storytellers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a food blogger and cookbook author who has been making up recipes for fictional foods from fantasy and science fiction since I was old enough to walk and talk. I love building a bridge between stories, imagination, fandom and food. For over a decade, with a lot of research and some really bad puns, I have been helping other geeks and nerds all over the world make their fictional food fantasies come true.

Cassandra's book list on cookbooks written by storytellers

Cassandra Reeder Why did Cassandra love this book?

Written by the late and great Terry Pratchett himself, this is obviously a must-have for any Discworld fanatic. The actual recipes in this tome range from questionable to delightful, the “narrator,” Nanny Ogg, is the real star of the show. Nanny Ogg’s er… life advice, this book will have you giggling and the recipes will have you intrigued.

By Stephen Briggs, Paul Kidby, Terry Pratchett , Paul Kidby

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nanny Ogg's Cookbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'They say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach which just goes to show they're as confused about anatomy as they gen'rally are about everything else, unless they're talking about instructions on how to stab him, in which case a better way is up and under the ribcage. Anyway, we do not live in a perfect world and it is foresighted and useful for a young woman to become proficient in those arts which will keep a weak-willed man from straying. Learning to cook is also useful.'

Nanny Ogg, one of Discworld's most famous witches, is…


Book cover of Do One Thing Different: Ten Simple Ways to Change Your Life

Shelly Marshall Author Of Escaping Myself: Lee B's Biography, a true story of sobriety and his best tall tales

From my list on turning sobriety into a super power.

Why am I passionate about this?

Most drunks struggle to accept that they have a disease called “alcoholism” and feel shame, intertwined with fear, having to admit it. I, on the other hand, embraced it. Being alcoholic meant I wasn’t “crazy” after all like Grandma. At 21, I embraced the disease along with 12 Step recovery, thanking my lucky stars that there was something I could do about my chaotic hippied lifestyle. “Don’t pick up the first fix, pill, or drink and you can’t get drunk.” Could the solution be so simple? It is. From the moment I set down the drink and drugs, I knew I had to share this amazing revelation with others and my writing career began.

Shelly's book list on turning sobriety into a super power

Shelly Marshall Why did Shelly love this book?

Full disclosure, I know Bill Hanlon and we exchanged books at one of several speaking engagements together.

I cherish this book and have a signed copy featured in my collection. It is a simple straightforward ingenious way to disrupt destructive patterns in all relationships. And it works! Being in the mental health field, I would make this wonderful book mandatory for all counselors to read, if I had that power.

Full of examples on how to modify micro-behaviors, results could not be more life-changing. I found that I had the power to alter destructive patterns in my life by reacting differently in any given situation! Bill’s book explains how to do it.

By Bill O'hanlon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Do One Thing Different as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"If you do one thing different, read this book! It is filled with practical, creative, effective, down-to-earth solutions to life's challenging problems."-Michele Weiner-Davis, author of Divorce Busting

The 20th anniversary edition of a self-help classic, updated with a new preface: Tapping into widespread popular interest in highly effective, short-term therapeutic approaches to personal problems, author Bill O'Hanlon offers 10 Solution Keys to help you free yourself from "analysis paralysis" and quickly get unstuck from aggravating problems.

Tired of feeling stuck all the time when you're trying to solve a problem or are facing conflict? Do you get easily flustered or…


Book cover of City Spies

Beth McMullen Author Of Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls

From my list on spy reads for kids with espionage escapades.

Why am I passionate about this?

All my books, for adults and kids, include the theme that things are seldom what they seem. I link this to the slow realization when I was young that my family had an uncommon history. Novels featuring spies go deep into this theme, as a good spy is always manipulating their environment and presenting versions of themselves that may or may not be true. When my own children were little, we read so many of these novels. That reading is what inspired the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls series.

Beth's book list on spy reads for kids with espionage escapades

Beth McMullen Why did Beth love this book?

This novel ticks all the boxes! A diverse cast of characters from different backgrounds and different parts of the world are brought together in a secret spy society and embark on an engaging international adventure to save the world.

I’m an avid traveler so the global setting of this fast-paced series appeals to me as does Ponti’s deft hand at weaving a mystery. We get clues enough to stay glued to the page but not so many we figure out the ending too soon. The ‘family’ dynamics of the spy kids grounds the story. Readers might recognize their own sibling interactions in the pages. 

By James Ponti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked City Spies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller!
A GMA3 Summer Reading Squad Selection!
“Ingeniously plotted, and a grin-inducing delight.” —People
“Will keep young readers glued to the page…So when do I get the sequel?” —Beth McMullen, author of Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls

In this thrilling new series that Stuart Gibbs called “a must-read,” Edgar Award winner James Ponti brings together five kids from all over the world and transforms them into real-life spies—perfect for fans of Spy School and Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls.

Sara Martinez is a hacker. She recently broke into the New York City foster care…


Book cover of Mind Platter

Ruby Dhal Author Of Dear Self

From my list on if you want to learn how to love yourself.

Why am I passionate about this?

I embarked on my very first healing journey at the age of 4, after I lost my mother. Through the years, I wanted nothing more than to live a happy life. It wasn’t until the age of 21 that I understood the reason for my pain and discomfort –the lack of love that I had for myself. I started writing about my emotions and sharing these pieces on an online blog. Within a few months, my page grew tremendously. I realised then that we’re all on various healing journeys, and most of us struggle with self-love, even if we look like we’ve got it ‘figured out’ – we still struggle. 

Ruby's book list on if you want to learn how to love yourself

Ruby Dhal Why did Ruby love this book?

The key to loving yourself is knowing yourself and accepting that person entirely. That is, not just the polished, perfect parts of you but the inner layers. The insecurities. The vulnerabilities. The pain. The mistakes. Written as a bite-sized self-help book of prose that can be easily digested in one or two sittings, Mind Platter is brimming with pieces that changed my perspective of my healing journey for the better. 

If you’re learning to love yourself better, Mind Platter is a great book to dive into for many reasons. It’s a book that unveiled many truths for me, such as the cause of my discomfort and pain (often hidden in my unrealistic expectations of myself and me ‘making a home’ in other people), how to be more forgiving, and the importance of growth and moving on. This book taught me how to be kinder to myself through its discussion of…

By Najwa Zebian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mind Platter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mind Platter is a compilation of reflections on life through the eyes of an educator, student and human who experienced most of life in silence. It is written in the words of a person who came from Lebanon to Canada at the age of sixteen and experienced what it was like to have fate push you to a place where you don't belong. It is written in the voice of every person who ever felt unheard, mistreated, misjudged or unseen. Mind Platter contains around 200 one-page entries as reflections on different topics that we encounter in our everyday lives; love,…


Book cover of On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life

Joey Havens Author Of Leading with Significance: How to Create a Magnetic, People-First Culture

From my list on creating a people-first workplace culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am passionate about giving people the benefit of good intentions and my faith calls me to care and serve others. Today, I believe my purpose is to help inspire leaders to trust in the inherent good in people while caring and serving them in intentional ways that leads to high performance. I have been blessed immensely and want to give back to others so their journey can be one of significance. As former CEO of my company, I had no roadmap which made our journey even more difficult. Now, I have experienced the joy, the fulfillment, and the abundance of building a people-first culture.  Together we can make a difference for so many people.

Joey's book list on creating a people-first workplace culture

Joey Havens Why did Joey love this book?

We are in an exponential world today and we grew up in an incremental world for businesses.

Daniel not only helps us understand how to anticipate more of the future, he teaches us how to anticipate which is one of the most important skills for business leaders today. After reading his book, I also worked through his anticipatory leader course.

By understanding the power of being anticipatory, I have used his techniques to lead our firm to bigger opportunities. In the future of work, anticipating what people will want and need, provides a distinctive advantage.

By John O'Leary,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rousing 7-step plan for living a life filled with hope and possibility from an inspirational speaker who survived a near-fatal fire at the age of nine and now runs a successful business inspiring people all around the world.
When John O'Leary was nine years old, he was almost killed in a devastating house fire. With burns on one hundred percent of his body, O'Leary mustered an almost unimaginable amount of inner strength just to survive the ordeal. The insights he gained through this experience and the heroes who stepped into his life to help him through the journey, his…


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